Lady Panthers win Class 1A Girls State Championship

Jackson- The last time the Lady Panthers reached glory by way of a girls’ basketball state championship it was 1986. The 31-year drought came to an end last Thursday as the Pine Grove Lady Panthers won the 2017 Class 1A State Championship.

The game did not start out particularly the way Pine Grove wanted it to. The Lady Panthers were down 9-2 midway through the opening quarter.

“I knew that if we could settle in and do what we do, and play the way we have played all year long that we would be fine,” said Coach Katie Bates.

Settling in is exactly what Pine Grove did.

The Lady Panthers scored the first quarter’s final four points and outscored Leake County 15-0 in the second quarter tallying a 19-0 run through the two quarters to close the half with dominating 21-9 lead.

Haley Vick was huge part of Pine Grove’s success in the second quarter as she either scored or assisted on the first nine points in the quarter.

“We have depended on Haley a lot and early on she did well,” said Bates.

Megan Hill, the team’s best shooter, and Loren Elliot, another viable scoring option, both dealing with foul trouble allowed Vick to shine on the offensive end.

“We told her (Vick) you have to take over right here and her and Taylor Fletcher just took over on the offensive end,” Bates stated.

Vick’s efforts led to a game-high 16 points and was also named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).

The Lady Panthers built on the lead in the second half, never allowing Leake County to sniff out a chance at gaining momentum.

Pine Grove defeated Leake County, 47-27.

Coach Bates believes this win was great for the girls and all their hard work but also for the entire Pine Grove community.

“I’m so excited for these fans. They have so much faith in me and faith in those girls,” said Bates “This isn’t just a Katie Bates win, or a Lady Panther win, but this is a Pine Grove win.”

 

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